Airline executives from major U.S. airlines met with Vice President Mike Pence and a number of other top administration officials yesterday at the White House. What happened at the meeting?
Who Attended Airline CEO Meeting At White House?
Per the Vice President’s office, the following attended the meeting:
- The Vice President
- Ken Cucinelli, Acting Deputy Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
- Elaine Chao, Secretary, Department of Transportation
- Alex Azar, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
- Robert Redfield, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Joel Szabat, Assistant Secretary for Aviation & International Affairs, Department of Transportation
- Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines
- Doug Parker, CEO, American Airlines
- Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines
- Tom Nealon, President, Southwest Airlines
- Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue Airways
- Nicholas Calio, CEO, Airlines for America
The President apparently did not make an appearance at this meeting.
What Was Discussed At White House Airline CEO Summit?
Prior to the meeting, the big topic of discussion was whether mandatory temperature checks would be instituted at airports across the country. And if so, who would conduct them?
While the White House indicated it was open to working with the Department of Transportation to make temperature checks mandatory, it stopped short of committing to them. Open questions include how to pay for the program and more importantly, what to do if a passenger has a high temperature.
Airlines volunteered to full refund passengers who check-in with temperatures (imagine how that may be gamed…) but even that was not enough. Apparently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not want to deal with passengers found to have high fevers at U.S. airports. Major airlines view public views temperature checks along with masks as a key way to boost public confidence in travel.
Temperature checks are a tricky issue for exactly the concerns expressed. What should happen to passengers who are found to have high fevers? Is it as simple as sending them home if they may be a public health risk? And will this be an unfunded mandate? Airlines, Congress, and the Administration must think carefully in promulgating any new nationwide testing mandate that will impact all travelers.
What do you think about mandatory temperature checks before you travel?